How to Write & Format a Press Release

When big news happens at your business, you want the world to know. But short of cracking open the old Roladex, how do you make sure your big announcement makes the most impact on your business’s network? Enter press release distribution. In short, the press release provides information about an organization’s recent events to the media outlets.

Drafting a successful press release is an art. It has to grab the reader’s attention of the media representative who reads it. That means the quality of your press release writing and form can mean the difference between meaningful media coverage and a complete public dismissal of your cause. If done with care, a killer press release can really work to your advantage.

While the process may seem daunting, writing a great press release doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it follows a simple formula and press release format that you can personalize to stand out and promote your organization.

Types of Press Releases and What to Include In Each
While some advice for how to write a press release is universal, a smart press release isn’t cookie-cutter—it’s shaped specifically for a particular event you want to share. 1 Take a look at these event-specific tips to submit a press release that achieves your goals:
  • Product Launches and Updates – Spread the word about a new product (especially book releases) to let the world know that your company is providing innovation and solutions. Be sure to include the product’s price and availability, as well as any other relevant details. It’s also key to announce updates about pre-existing products to ensure that the public is informed, this also helps to keep promoting a product after its original release.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions – Although the general public might not necessarily keep up with every company’s evolution, current and potential stakeholders will want to see your company’s current direction. When announcing a merger or acquisition, feature pertinent information about the companies involved, quotations from leadership, and information about the merger or acquisition itself.
  • Special Events – Promotional events can be an enjoyable and engaging way to market your organization, and a press release will help to get the word out to a target audience. Your media contact (and their audience) will want to know what the event is for, what the entrance fee is, where it will be held, and who should consider attending.
  • Grand Openings – If you have opened a new office, write a press release specifying the location and when the grand opening will be. Grand openings provide a perfect opportunity to get people excited about your business. People will be even more excited if you provide details of who is involved and how you’re celebrating.
  • Partnerships – When you release a press release about a new partnership, you’ve utilized a savvy marketing tactic to benefit both companies. To generate real interest in a new partnership, write a press release that primarily explains the purpose of the partnership. In these types of press releases, audience awareness is vital. Stakeholders will want to see details about who benefits from this partnership and how.
  • Rebranding Efforts – Announcing a company-wide rebrand through a press release is an effective way to spread awareness of the change to the public. Rebranding can sometimes lead to cases of mistaken brand identities. A direct press release will ultimately make the process smoother than it would be otherwise by saying “Hello world, this is our new look.”

    A wise way to go about this is to provide quotes from company leadership about the rebrand, details about what exactly is changing, and when exactly the company will implement the changes. This will ensure that the rebrand appears purposeful rather than arbitrary.
  • Hiring – It’s extremely useful to spotlight your new executives through a press release. Your executives are the main representatives and faces of the company, and highlighting them as individuals will help to attract like-minded potential hires and garner attention towards your business.
  • Awards – If your business has won an award, writing a humble and appreciative press release can get the word out about your merits and accomplishments. This is a smart way to express gratitude for the honor, as well as remind the public that you’re a reputable company.
What To Put Into a Press Release
When writing an effective press release, there’s one key to start with: less is more. In other words, it’s vital to prioritize the quality of the information over the quantity. That’s why standard press releases are no more than one or two pages. 2

This short-and-sweet approach ensures that businesses and media outlets can quickly glean the essential information from your press coverage instead of zoning out as they read vast text blocks.

The Structure: How to Format a Press Release
The press release format helps show your professionalism and show off your news story in as succinct a way as possible. As far as more concrete formatting requirements go, it’s a safe bet to adhere to the following:
  • At the top: company contact information and “for immediate release” at the top (the release will be delayed without this)
  • On the very front line: news location and date
  • In the body copy: Two to three informational paragraphs and bulleted information
  • Bottom: company description with specific instructions to contact more (and make sure it’s a number someone will actually answer)
  • At the end: “###” to signify the end of the release
The 8 Things Every Good Press Release Needs
Now that you know how to write a press release and how it should be formatted, here’s everything you need to know about what needs to go into it. 3

#1: The Five W’s
You know them: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. They’re what make a press release worth reading:
  • Who are the key players?
  • What has happened that’s worth noting?
  • Where is it taking place?
  • When is it happening?
  • Why is it a big deal?
The answers to these questions will likely look different depending on your organization and your goals for the press release. No matter what, be sure that the reader won’t be left guessing about anything the press release was about.

#2: Remember Who’s Reading it
Media professionals are inherently busy people and can’t spare the time to read anything convoluted, irrelevant, or tedious. Be sure to make your press release quick, eye-catching, and informative.

#3: Have an Effective “Hook”
Just like a TV commercial or social media post, you have to figure out a way to lure your target audience in immediately. In a press release, this translates into grabbing the reader’s attention by the end of the opening paragraph. Give an informational yet intriguing intro to leave them wanting more.

#4: Refrain From Exaggeration
Showing off the positive aspects of your organization is much more credible when stated honestly rather than hyperbolized. When writing your press release, state the facts and leave it at that.

#5: Utilize Multimedia Resources
Spice up your press release with some relevant visual appeal, such as videos, GIFs, and photos. You can also engage your reader with an audiovisual hook, like an audio URL. In the internet age, some aesthetic appeal will help your press release go the extra mile.

#6: Insert Quotations
Providing direct quotations from organization members, customers, or leadership is an easy and effective way to legitimize and personalize your content for the audience. Getting these first-hand testimonials can turn good news into outstanding press.

#7: Have a Standout Title
It’s a hard but true fact—most people who work with press releases have, at some point or another, just read the press release headline or title without reading the rest.

Chances are that a vast majority of an organization’s potential readership will do the same, or at least not check the rest if the title isn’t intriguing.

In any case, your title should be comprehensive enough for those who are not willing to read it and intriguing enough to hook others in.

#8: Simple, Succinct Language
You already know that when it comes to press releases, brevity is key. The actual language should not only be succinct, but easily understandable. Feel free to use layman’s terms and simple sentences; a successful press release shouldn’t be full of jargon or flowery prose.

How to Make Sure Your Press Release is 2021-Ready
It’s no secret that the need for standard journalism procedures like press releases might seem trite in the age of social media. However, writing an up-to-speed 2021-savvy press release isn’t as complicated as it might seem, and writing a traditional press release is still more worthwhile than merely posting on social media.

To craft a 2021-friendly press release, you don’t need a formula as much as you need an overarching goal. Strive to write something that will engage the public, show the worthiness and uniqueness of your organization, and help to bridge new relationships. 4 This will show the legitimacy and merit of your organization. Achieving this through press release SEO will also do a major favor for your search engine optimization (SEO) and overall image.

ACCESSWIRE: An Invaluable Press Release Resource
Cited as one of the Top 10 USA Press Release Distribution Services Reviewed, ACCESSWIRE is an internationally renowned press release service, one of the top 4 newswires, and the fastest growing. 6 ACCESSWIRE is known not only for its ample expertise and success in wide distribution, but its top-notch customer service and flat fee, cost-effective pricing. 7 If you’re searching for information on how to distribute a press release, our experts can help.

ACCESSWIRE clients each receive a dedicated onboarding specialist and account manager. In this way, each client gets to work with someone with a similar level of understanding and knowledge of any given topic. From there, ACCESSWIRE can provide relevant and industry-specific PR and marketing tips.

All in all, combining the above tips and tricks with ACCESSWIRE’s press release distribution service is the best way to perfect your public relations strategy, help meet your organization’s goals, and improve your PR measurement outcomes.
Coffey Communications. The 7 key elements of a good press release.

Hubspot. How to Write a Press Release.

Indie Connect. The Seven Essentials to Writing a Press Release.

Just Reach Out blog. How to Write a Press Release in 4 Steps.

TMC. Top 10 USA Press Release distribution services Reviewed.